Brazil is also the world's finest soccer country in general. Selecao has won all three of the world's most famous football championships and has had great soccer superstars like as Pele and Ronaldo Nazario as members of its side in the past. Brazil is also one of the most popular sports in the country.
England is known for its soccer culture and boasts some top-class players such as David Beckham, Paul Gascoigne, and George Best. It's also where the sport was invented!
Italy plays an elegant style of soccer that is very popular with fans and media. The Azzurri have won two World Cups - in 1934 and 2006 - and have reached the final on several other occasions. Italy's league is called Serie A and it is considered the best in Europe.
France has been a major force in European soccer since the early 1990s and is one of the most exciting teams to watch. Les Bleus win the French League every year and have reached the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on five other occasions.
Spain is another great soccer nation that has dominated international competitions in recent years. With stars like Xavi Hernandez, Iniesta, and Messi, this team is expected to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Spain's league is called La Liga and it is the most popular tournament in Europe.
1. Brazil Brazil is unquestionably the finest team in World Cup history, no matter how you look at it. With 19 appearances in all, the country has also competed in the most distinct events, having been present at every World Cup since Uruguay in 1930. Brazil is the only country to have won the trophy more than once.
Brazil has always been one of the top nations in world football, but it wasn't until the late 1950s that they started to dominate the game like they do today. From 1958 to 1970, Brazilian teams went undefeated in 16 matches, winning 14 and tying 2 games. They also did not lose a single match between 1971 and 1990. Since then, Brazil has failed to reach the final phase of any tournament they have entered.
The best player in the history of the sport was born in Rio de Janeiro: Pele. He remains the only player who has scored goals in both the opening match and the closing ceremony of a World Cup. The man known as the "Pride of Brazil" played for his country from 1955 to 1975, when he moved to America to join New York Cosmos. There he became the first player to score in three different periods of the game: penalty shoot-out, extra time, and the full match. He returned to Brazil in 1977 and finished his career there with two more seasons in the National League.
Brazil has been hosting the World Cup since 1934.
Football is the most popular sport in Brazil and is an important element of the country's identity. Brazil's national football team has won the FIFA World Cup five times, more than any other side, in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. The team was disqualified from 1920 to 1938 and again in 1944 because they did not play against European teams.
Brazil has several regional football associations (or federations) that control different aspects of the game. These include the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), which controls international relations, and the state organizations that control the local scene.
The first official international match played by the Brazil national football team was a win over Argentina on June 14, 1889. Two years later, Brazil participated in their first Olympic football tournament, but they were eliminated after losing both of their matches. Brazil's next major competition was the 1930 World Cup; however, since many top players were involved in political conflicts related to dictatorship rule, this event is sometimes called the "White World Cup" because it only included countries that had freedom to choose their squad.
After the world war II, Brazil entered a period of great success, winning the trophy in 1958, 1962, 1970, and 1994. However, they have not been as dominant as before, with the exception of 2002 when they defeated France in the final.
Football is Brazil's most popular sport and an important component of its national character. The team was disqualified from 1920 to 1942 because of political instability in Brazil at that time.
Brazil has the second largest population of soccer fans in the world after Argentina. The average Brazilian fan spends about 300 hours a year watching football matches.
The game was first introduced to Brazil by the British during their rule over South America. It became very popular there and by the early 20th century had replaced baseball as the country's favorite sport.
In 1914, Flamengo became the first Brazilian club to win the Rio de Janeiro championship. Palmeiras followed in 1927 and Vasco da Gama in 1932. In 1938, Fluminense joined them as the only other Brazilian club to win the title. By this time, all these clubs were based in Rio de Janeiro so the competition was known as the Rio de Janeiro championship.
In 1947, the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF) was founded in Rio de Janeiro by former players who wanted to organize tournaments and promote football.
Socrates, Zico, Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, and Neymar are examples of Brazil's legendary talent conveyor belt. They have won the World Cup more than any other country and are the only side to have competed in every World Cup competition.
However, that does not mean they are perfect at soccer. Yes, they have many great players and a fantastic team but they also make many mistakes that cause them to lose their games.
For example, during the 2014 World Cup, people were surprised to see how often they scored goals. Brazil went into the tournament as one of the favorites because they were ranked No. 1 by FIFA (the sport's governing body). But they were upset in their opening game by host nation France after being outplayed by its less-experienced team.
In the next game, they took on Colombia and won 2-1. But after that, they were defeated by Germany in the quarterfinals and lost again by a goal to Uruguay in the semifinals. All together, it was not a good start for Brazil at the World Cup and people started calling them "O Brasil" which means "The Brazil".
They ended up losing in the final to Germany's Manuel Neuer who made several big saves during the match.